The 11 Best Boston Beaches In and Around the City Limits

M Street Beach

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnova 

Fortunately for locals and visitors, Boston is a coastal city, which means there are plenty of options for hitting the beach, both in and around the city limits. The beaches below are either accessible by public transportation (either MBTA or Commuter Rail), or by driving approximately an hour (in some instances, a tiny bit more) from the city. Read on to discover the best Boston beaches.

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Revere Beach

Revere Beach in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kasia Baumann / Getty Images 

Revere Beach, Revere, MA 02151, USA

Established in 1896, Revere Beach is America's first public beach. A popular day trip from Boston, Revere Beach welcomes city dwellers looking to sunbathe, stroll along Revere Boulevard, and participate in the annual International Sand Sculpting Festival, which takes place in July. Be sure to stop by Kelly’s Roast Beef for some of the most famous sandwiches and fried clams in town. To get here, you can take the MBTA Blue Line right to Revere Beach Station.

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Singing Beach

Manchester-by-the-sea, Singing Beach, sunrise

 Sara Gray / Getty Images 

Singing Beach, Massachusetts 01944, USA

Singing Beach, so-called because the sand makes a musical sound when you walk on it, is a gorgeous-rocky landscape nestled in the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea. About an hour from Boston, one of Massachusetts' most scenic beaches is actually easily accessible by public transit. To get there, take the Commuter Rail train from North Station to the Manchester stop; from there, it's about a half-mile walk to the beach.

While there is limited parking at the beach, it's only available to Manchester-by-the-Sea residents, and the nearby public parking lot tends to fill up rather quickly during summer days. Note that there is a walk-on fee per person each day.

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Carson Beach

Carson Beach

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnova

Carson Beach, Boston, MA, USA

Carson Beach, located in South Boston, may not be the most serene or secluded seashore spot in New England, but it is a fine place for a respite from a mid-summer day in the city. There are clean bathhouses here, fantastic views of the Boston Harbor, and walkways for pedestrians and bikers. You'll also see groups of locals playing volleyball, and there's a beach hut serving lunch and ice cream.

To get there, take the Red Line to the JFK/UMass station; the beach is a short walk across Morrissey Blvd. There is a very small parking lot available, but it is typically full, and street parking tends to get packed during the summer months.

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M Street Beach

M Street Beach

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnova

Boston, MA 02127, USA
Phone +1 617-727-5290

M Street Beach is a few blocks from Carson Beach, just past the Curley Community Center (known to many as the L Street Bathhouse). There tends to be more of a millennial crowd at this part of the beach, though the experience is pretty similar to Carson.

To get here, you can take the Red Line to the JFK/UMass station, then either take the bus or walk the 1.6 miles to M Street Beach. If you choose the former option, the 10 bus will drop you off at East Broadway and M Street; from there it's a 0.4-mile walk to the beach. Another option is to take the 11 bus to East 8th St at M Street, just a two-minute walk from the beach. If you prefer to drive, there is on-street parking available, though it fills up fast.

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Castle Island Beach

Castle Island Beach

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnova 

Castle Island, Boston, MA 02127, USA

After fueling up on lobster rolls at Sullivan's and checking out Fort Independence, the oldest, continuously fortified site of English origin in the U.S., make your way over to the beach on Castle Island. With its unparalleled views of the downtown skyline and the historic Boston Harbor, it's a favorite spot among locals, yet one that doesn't seem to make the tourist map.

Located a bit past M Street Beach, Castle Island offers street parking as well as an actual parking lot by Sullivan's; keep in mind that, like most beach parking lots, this one gets crowded. You can also access Castle Island via the 5, 7, 9, 10, or 11 MBTA buses, depending on where you are coming from.

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Plum Island Beach

path leading to the beach

Gary D'Ercole / Getty Images 

Plum Island Beach, N Reservation Terrace, Newburyport, MA 01950, USA

Just under an hour north of Boston on I-95 is the coastal town of Newburyport, which has a waterfront downtown area filled with brownstones, shops, and restaurants. Those who live in or visit Newburyport are typically big fans of Plum Island, and one of the best things to do there is visiting the beach.

From Boston, take I-93 North to Exit 37A to get onto I-95 North. Then you'll take Exit 57 for Route 113 East, which will take you through Newburyport and Newbury. There are several parking lots on the Parker River Wildlife Refuge, but unfortunately, most are small. Try to get into Parking Lot #1 on the left, but keep in mind that there can be a wait to get into any of the lots during the summer. There is a much bigger parking lot that you can get to by turning left onto Northern Boulevard and following it to the North Point of Plum Island.

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Good Harbor Beach

Gloucester Massachusetts shore line with beach

jmoor17 / Getty Images 

Gloucester, MA 01930, USA

Gloucester, about an hour from Boston, is another beautiful town that's home to one of the best beaches in Massachusetts: Good Harbor Beach. Here, you'll take in views of the Twin Lighthouses on Thatcher Island and Salt Island as you relax on the white-sand beach. At low tide, you can even walk out to them. Keep in mind that this beach has a "Carry In-Carry Out" policy, so plan to bring a trash bag.

Given Good Harbor Beach's popularity, it's recommended that you get there nice and early—the gates open at 8 a.m. Parking is $30 during the week and $35 on weekends and holidays. Good Harbor Beach is located on Thatcher Road/Route 127A. Driving from Boston, you'll take Route 128 North into Gloucester.

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Crane Beach

Crane Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts

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Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA, USA

Located on the 1,200-acre Crane Estate in Ipswich, Crane Beach is a family-friendly locale boasting clean water, sand dunes, and salt marsh. A nesting site for a threatened bird called the piping plover, the beach has also been recognized for its shorebird protection efforts. If you want to mix up your beach day, there are miles of hiking trails through the estate's maritime scrub forest, as well as paddling trips that depart from the property.

Crane Beach is located off Route 128 North's Exit 20A. Once you take the exit, you'll drive Route 1A for 8 miles to Ipswich, turn right on Route 133 East, and follow the road for 1.5 miles. Take a left on Northgate Road, then a right on Argilla Road, and continue on for 2.5 miles until you reach the beach parking. During the summer season, parking for non-members is $40 on weekdays and $45 on weekends and holidays. Off-season rates are $10 a car.

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Hampton Beach

Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach NH (day)
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Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH 03842, USA

If you continue up a couple more exits on I-95 North, you'll wind up in the southern part of New Hampshire, where you'll find Hampton Beach and its boardwalk, restaurants, and bars. Many Massachusetts families find themselves escaping to Hampton Beach for a quick getaway because there are plenty of things to do, from playing arcade games and visiting an oceanarium to catching a concert or show at the Hampton Casino Ballroom.

If you keep driving north along the beach, you'll find several other less crowded beaches that are ideal for families, surfing, and sunbathing in the towns of North Hampton and Rye.

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Wollaston Beach

Wollaston Beach, Quincy, MA, USA

If you're heading south of the city, try Wollaston Beach in Quincy; it's about 20 minutes south of Boston, depending on the traffic and time of day. This is toward the beginning of what Bostonians consider the "South Shore."

Parking is available along the beach, but as with all of the area's beaches, get there early to reserve your spot. To get there, take I-93 South to Quincy Shore Drive.

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Duxbury Beach

Powder point bridge, Duxbury, Massachusetts

Ronald Wilson Photography / Getty Images 

Duxbury Beach, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

As you continue south, you'll reach many other beautiful beaches. One of the more popular options is Duxbury Beach, part of a 7.5-mile stretch of coastline that runs from Marshfield to Saquish. Spanning 4 miles in Duxbury, this beach allows you to park your car right on the sand, as long as you have a permit.

To get to Duxbury Beach, set "260 Gurnet Road" in Duxbury as your destination in your GPS. This will take you down Route 3 to Exit 11 to MA-14 toward Duxbury/Pembroke. Parking will cost you $20 per car.

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The 11 Best Boston Beaches In and Around the City Limits